“Sanguinius, please deliver your faithful sons.” Talon whispered a quiet prayer as he beheld Brother Abraham’s ruined frame. The Ark of Memory, the iron shell that held the man who was once Chief Librarian of the Angels Sacrosanct, sparked and spat coolant from deep gouges. Servos in stout legs whined in futile effort as cables hung limp from his massive blocky frame, while steam rose from armoured plating where the last remnants of acid blood of those Tyranids that littered the battlefield around them began to evaporate.
Above them, eclipsing stars with its silvery wedge, the inbound fragment of the planet grew.
“Leave me.” Abraham ordered; his voice more static than human. Systems were failing within the Dreadnought. It wouldn’t be long now, one way or another. Talon ached to know that he would be the one to witness the revered ancient’s death. It was a story he knew he wouldn’t live to tell.
In the distance, more Tyranids appeared from behind a large vented structure spewing steam into the Omega Station’s atmosphere. Huge winged creatures swooped through the steam, using it as an updraft. On the ground, the aliens seemed endless, as a chittering wave of flesh and shiny chitin, broken only by larger monsters trundling in clusters. They came on with such speed that reaching the extraction point was impossible. They would be overrun in minutes. Talon felt the trembling of their approach.
“The Angels Sacrosanct will not abandon our charge as the guardians of the Omega Station, no matter how doomed it is.” Talon said with more firmness than he felt.
Abraham made a sound that might have been a grunt of acknowledgement. “Then we shall die fulfilling that charge, Captain.”
Talon barked a laugh as he readied his Combi-flamer. “You are outside the chain of command. Only Chapter Master Titus can promote me to Captain.”
“If you are going to lie to save my pride from the ignominy of this end, boy, I will damned well return the favor.” What escaped from the Ancient’s vox array was not quite a laugh. “Besides, who would dare gainsay the unbreakable word of the Ark of Memory? I name you Captain. It shall be so.”
“If we survive.” Talon retorted.
“Yes, well, there is that.”
Talon opened the vox to the remaining Angels Sacrosanct stranded on the surface. “Form up and prepare for contact. Support the 401st and try to cover their…” Talon cut off as a new channel hailed him at emergency levels. Internally, he cursed and opened a response.
“Whoever this is, go. Leave this place to its fate. We may meet our end here, our duty done, but the name of the Angels Sacrosanct will never die. Carry it on in memory.”
The reply was a single word: “Incoming.”
Then the skies came alive, and the doom hurtling towards the Omega Station was momentarily overtaken by the familiar glow of Drop Pod thrusters.
Dozens of deep blue Drop Pods fell between his position and the advancing Tyranids. The first to open revealed interiors festooned with deadly Deathwind launchers which rained their payloads onto the advancing aliens. Though hundreds died, they came on still, swarming the Deathwind pods until they exploded dramatically.
The next to fall disgorged Marines and Dreadnoughts in the deep blue of the Azure Flames. At their fore, a flag with an icon of blue fire flew, tinged with green fringes. A younger Astartes with a laurel crown atop a spray of curly locks advanced and gestured with a wicked twin headed power axe. At this signal, the sound of an entire company of Space Marines emptying their weapons at once drowned out the alien chittering with the rumbling cough of bolt rounds. As the aliens approached, a wave of brilliant blue erupted from the front line, bathing the gaunts in fire. Immediately following this, seven bulky forms waded into combat as they crushed unwary aliens with fist and tread.
The final pod fell behind the lines of the others, to Talon’s rear. As the doors fell, the Angel Sacrosanct beheld a Techmarine in blue rather than the standard Mars Red. Surrounded by heavily armed servitors, he gestured, and the servitors disembarked, firing into the Tyranids. His full servo harness flexed and came alive as he hefted a massive axe, then turned and approached Brother Abraham.
“Lieutenant Talon?” he said.
“Not for long.” Abraham murmured.
“Yes.” Talon replied, firmly placing himself between the newly arrived Techmarine and the Ark of Memory.
“I am Jelnac, Master of the Forge of the Azure Flames,” the blue-clad Astartes said, bowing slightly in greeting. “I am told you have some trouble with a Dreadnought.”
“Do not meddle in our affairs, Forgemaster.” Talon intoned. “The workings of the Ark of Memory are the purview of the Librarium of the Angels Sacrosanct.”
“I assure you, I will be discreet,” Jelnac said, crashing his fist to his breastplate. “By the soul of Vulkan, I swear to keep your chapter’s secrets. Besides,” he said with a gentle smile “I have experience in working with a Dreadnought frame meant for Librarians.”
Talon sighed and shook his head, keeping himself firmly planted. “I fear this task may be beyond the expertise of even the most talented Magos.”
“Fear is irrelevant.” Jelnac snapped. “The Emperor in his aspect as the Omnissiah will bless my work. I will have the Ark of Memory back in the fight, or I will die defending him.”
“Such boldness,” Abraham chided. Both Talon and Jelnac stared at the smoking Dreadnought frame as static rumbled from within it. “Fine, then. Move aside, Captain. Forgemaster, begin your craft. But I shall hold you to your word, son of Vulkan.”
“Thank you, noble ancient.” Jelnac turned to Talon. “Go and do battle, Brother. Abraham shall join you presently.”
Talon gave a grim nod. “The Angels Sacrosanct will not forget this sacrifice, Azure Flame.”
“Thank Captain Antonius by reinforcing his position, if you could please.”
“Indeed.” Talon said as he turned to fight.